Hi, my name is Rick, and I am a camera geek. I bought my first real camera with paper route money when I was 12 years old, and have been using "prosumer" still and video cameras ever since. And I fell in love with digital video. Some time ago I heard a phrase coined by photographer Chase Jarvis, in which he says "The best camera is the one that's with you". That phrase just resonated with me, especially when it came to shooting video. What good is a DSLR or HD video camera if it's at home or locked in the trunk of your car? Realistically, the "best camera" is the smartphone in your pocket.
Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my iPhone, but shoot enough video with one and it becomes obvious that ergonomics [and videography in general] played only a small role in its design. It's a phone first, and a camera second…or, even third. What we need for shooting decent video on a smartphone is A HANDLE. But do you really want to carry around a big dopey handle just in case you **might** need it? I certainly don't. So I came up with an idea for a super easy to use handle that deploys fast with just one hand like a tactical knife, closes back down just like a knife, and slips in your pocket, just like a [duh]..........pocket knife.
So yes, I call it the Video Nyf [the super-dumb spelling is for good reason]. It works with nearly all smartphones, even those in cases. Considering I'm a graphic designer and not an engineer, the design challenges have been difficult at best, such as [a] designing it to deploy quickly and with just one hand like a knife, [b] designing it to accommodate smartphone cases and the myriad Android phones, [c] getting the right amount of grip strength, [d] what type of internal mechanism to provide that strength, [e] what types of materials to use, [f] how best to get stuff prototyped, [g] how to get the blade to retract, [h] what kinds of fasteners to use, [i] how to keep the Nyf small and pocketable, etc. etc. etc.
The prototype in this video is probably number 30, is made entirely out of plastic [but that will change], is assembled from laser cut parts from an online service, and features an ugly set of fasteners which function reasonably well but certainly aren't what I'd call sexy. I draw and modify my designs in Adobe Illustrator, and export to EPS or CAD for online laser cutting. I'm now talking with a local fab shop capable of doing high volume, high quality laser cutting [2000 watts!!], and commiserating with a friend [lead engineer at an international corporation] to help me finish off fastener work and other mechanical aspects of the design.
I'm at a critical yet very frustrating point, because the process of prototyping is taking waaaaay too long. 3 week turnarounds is just plain unacceptable [I'm talking about YOU, Ponoko], and I would love to do prototyping in-house. I bet I could achieve in one afternoon what currently takes me weeks, most of which is just waiting on the cutting and delivery of parts. So I'm asking for a scary amount of money from you Kickstarters to buy my own rather modest laser cutter [40 watts] and Windows PC for cutting plastic prototypes in-house, buy a stockpile of materials and fasteners to assemble a first run of Nyves, pay a local fab shop to cut/stamp some parts from aluminum or stainless steel [dunno which yet], and last but not least…hire my cousin, who hasn't had a job in six months, to help me with assembly of this batch and ship 'em out to all you Kickstarters. Whew, that's it, thanks so much!
3D renders of the expected final product [metal parts, proper fasteners, etc] will be posted shortly on videonyf.com